ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Monday announced the setting up of model courts in every district of the country to conduct daily trials so that speedy justice to the public could be provided and the massive backlog of cases could be reduced.
The announcement was made during the meeting of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) at the Supreme Court building. The committee was presided over by the chief justice and attended by chief justices of the Federal Shariat Court and high courts. CJP Khosa explained that Article 37 (d) of the Constitution requires the state to provide expeditious and inexpensive justice thus under the light of this principle model trial courts will be established in the country to carry out trials daily.
He spelled out the steps on how this would happen. Firstly, a trial schedule will be provided to lawyers and prosecutors so that they can follow it to a tee. In case, the lawyers are unable to appear before the court on the day of the case, they will have to let the model trial court know who will replace them so that the trial is concluded within the stipulated time frame.
NJPMC aims to reduce massive backlog of cases
Then, to ensure the timely conclusion of cases, model trial courts will not grant any adjournments.
Thirdly, the attendance of witnesses would be ensured through process servers for which SP-Investigation police officers of each district will act as a focal person liaising with the process servers. A process server is a person who serves legal documents (summons) to someone involved in a court case.
SP-Investigation officers will also be responsible for the production of all witnesses (except medical witnesses) and case property (evidence). CJP Khosa said for the timely production of medical witnesses (those who have serious health complications and cannot appear before the courts), the secretaries of the relevant health departments would be approached.
Fourthly, a monitoring and evaluation cell under the supervision of CJP or chairman NJPMC will oversee the workings of the model trial courts. The performance of these courts would be reviewed every two months, the chief justice said.
Initially pending murder and narcotics cases will be assigned to these courts, he said.
Secretary NJPMC Dr Mohammad Raheem Awan also briefed NJPMC that from Jan 1, 2017 to Feb 28, 2019, a total number of 614,307 cases under section 22 A/22 B CrPC were filed in the district judiciary throughout the country. During the same time period 47,029 cases under similar provisions were filed in the high courts.
The committee also discussed 438 posts lying vacant in the administrative tribunals and special courts working under federal jurisdiction and 950 posts lying vacant in the administrative tribunals and special courts working under provincial jurisdiction.
Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2019